Bubble Bustin’ Thursday: Fox axes trio of sitcoms

But Rick and Morty gets a major pickup

With the upfronts next week, the major networks are jockeying for position and clearing out the deadwood to make room for new shows. In the past, the Thursday and Friday before the upfronts see numerous show cancellations, and this year is no different.

On Thursday, Fox shook up its comedy lineup by cancelling three single-cam comedies: The Mick after two seasons; The Last Man On Earth after four; and Brooklyn Nine-Nine after five. The moves are taking place as Fox is considering bringing back multi-cam sitcom Last Man Standing to the air after ABC canceled the show last year.

As you can imagine, the news of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s cancellation was not well received by fans. And just as bad, Earth finished its recent season on a cliffhanger.

None of these comedies were ratings hits, as even The Mick lost its creative momentum after its strong launch. Each program earned less than a 1.0 rating in the adult 18-49 demo.

Fox picked up several on-the-bubble shows this week including Empire and Star.

But the biggest renewal story of the day didn’t come from a broadcast network. That came from Adult Swim, who trumped everyone by renewing animated sitcom Rick and Morty for an eye-popping 70 episodes.

Premiering in 2013, Rick and Morty is television’s number one sitcom in the adult 18-34 demo, even beating The Big Bang Theory. The seventy-episode order brings the show’s total episode count to 101, which makes it eligible for off-network syndication. However, the market for such programming is very tough these days and the 100th episode might not even air until 2026 at the earliest, given there are only ten episodes per season.

In other cancellation/renewal news, SyFy pilled the plug on The Expanse, doing so in an unusual manner: announcing the cancellation in the wee hours of Friday morning.